Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Current Affairs – 15th July 2023



Today Topics List:

  1. Yamuna Flooding and Delhi History:

  2. Yamuna Floods

  3. The Grand cross, legion of Honour

  4. PM’s France Visit: 26 French Rafael M Fighters

  5. Chandrayaan -III, the new Updates




Yamuna Flooding and Delhi History:

    • The Yamuna in Delhi, which is for most part of the year no more than a ribbon of polluted water, rose to 208.66 meters, causing Delhi’s worst flooding on record.
      • The river touched 207.49 m in 1978, the year in which records started to be maintained.
      • The Danger mark in Delhi is at 205.33 m.
    • Some of the historical places inundated by the river are Red Fort, Salimgarh fort, Kashmere Gate, Civil Lines, Raj Ghat etc.

Forts and the River:

  • The Salimgarh Fort was built by Salim Shah Suri, son of Sher Shah Suri, in 1546 on a riverine island.
  • Red Fort came up across what is now the Ring Road in 1648 on the west bank of a braid of the Yamuna.
    • Reminiscences of Imperial Delhi – an album of some 130 paintings of Mughal and Pre – Mughal monuments of Delhi – by Mazhar Ali Khan, commissioned by Charles Metcalfe.
    • A painting in that shows two forts connected by a bridge as the river flows between them.
    • The Bridge itself was built by the order of Bahadur Shah Zafar.
  • Shah Jahan’s original city had 14 gates, including the ‘water gate’, Khizri Darwaza, that opened directly to the river.
    • Only Delhi Gate, Kashmere Gate, Ajmeri Gate, Turkman Gate, and Nigambodh Gate survive. The rest are long gone.
    • Shah Jahan first came to the Complete Red Fort by the way of Yamuna, and entered his magnificent new home through its water gate ( Khizridarwaz).
  • Yamuna served many needs of the Fort, it was instrumental in choosing the location.
    • It not only serves as a barrier, but water was required for the growing population.
    • The weather is more clement where a river runs.
    • There was a scheme of water channels inside the fort, the water for which also came form Yamuna.

Change in the Yamuna River Course:

  • Over the years, The Yamuna river changed its course, It was to be the defence for the Red Fort, but began to move away in the time of Muhammad Shah ‘Rangila’ (1719-48).
  • When the decision of moving the capital from Kolkata to Delhi by British Raj, Coronation Park area was originally suggested as the location for new buildings.
    • But the monsoon of 1911, quite a lot of the Coronation Park – Kings way camp area, Parts of Civil Lines and Model town, were flooded as their were part of the floodplains. Hence the decision was changed to Raisina Hills.



Yamuna Floods

    • Yamuna in Delhi is now flowing at the highest ever level recording in the city. Delhi CM has requested Union Home Minister that water from Hathnikund barrage be released at a controlled speed.

Why is Yamuna Flooding:

  • North west India has seen heavy rainfall over the weekend including in the basin states of Yamuna.
    • Delhi, recorded heavy rainfall over the Weekend but has not seen heavy spell since then.
    • The water level in Yamuna is determined by the release of water upstream, from Hathnikund Barrage in Haryana.
  • The release, which is usually around 352 cusecs in the non-monsoon months, hit a peak of 3.59 lakh cusecs on Tuesday.
    • A barrage cannot store water, unlike a dam. It can only regulate the amount of water released downstream to canals.
    • Areas upstream, including Haryana, have already been witnessing flooding.

Yamuna River:

  • The Yamuna, the westernmost and the longest tributary of the Ganga, has its source in Yamunotri glacier on the western slopes of Banderpunch range (6,316m).
    • It Joins the Ganga at Prayag (Allahabad)/ Prayag raj .
    • It is 1,376 Km long, flows completely through India crossing Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.
    • Its Right bank Tributaries, originates from Peninsular plateau.
  • Chambal – Biggest Tributary on the Right.
  • Sind,
  • Betwa,

Its Left bank tributaries are,

  • The hindan,
  • The Rind,
  • The Sengar,
  • The Varuna.

Changes in river Course:

  • The Changes in a river course in the northern India is not unusual. One of the reasons believed to be the movement of the Indian Tectonic plate.
    • The plate has been moving northward, reason for rising Himalayas and also the eastward movement of Yamuna.
  • It is more likely for a river to change course in the alluvial plains of North India.
    • Alluvial terrain is soft and more amenable to changing river courses.
    • The course of Ganga between 1786 and now, there are places where it has changed its course by 34 Kms.
    • At several places along the river, we will find ghats but not the rivers.
    • Across the world we can find bridges that were once built over the rivers which later changed course.



The Grand cross, legion of Honour

    • France conferred its country’s highest honour, The Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour, up on Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi.
      • The honour normally recognises the contribution of the French people in the ‘service of the Nation’.
      • Foreigners are honoured for their support to France, and the award is sometimes conferred upon high dignitaries on a state visit to France.

What is the Award:

  • The National Order of the Legion of Honour, or simply The Legion of Honour is the highest French decoration, both civil and military, and is one of the most famous national honours in the world.
    • The Order was established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802,
    • It has been presented for more than the past two centuries on behalf of the French Head of State to its most deserving citizens in all fields of activity.
    • The motto of the Order is Honneur et Patrie, French for Honour and Father land.
    • According to the official website of the Legion of Honour, 2,200 French and 300 foreigners are decorated every year, and the Order currentlyhas79,000 members.

What does the award entail?

  • There is no material or financial benefit attached to the award.
    • The legion of Honour cannot be applied for.
    • The Government identifies the potential honourees.
    • The award badge is a five-armed Maltese asterisk hung on an oak and laurel wreath.
    • On the obverse is the effigy of the Republic and on the reverse two tricolour flags, and the motto Honneur et Patrie.
    • The colour of the ribbon is red.
  • The official website describes the award as a national emblem of France.
    • The Legion of Honour is worn before any other French or foreign insignia, on the left-hand side.

Foreigners and the Award:

  • The award website says foreigners may be decorated with the Legion of Honour – if they have rendered services (e.g., cultural or economic) to France or supported causes defended by France, such as human rights, freedom of the press, or humanitarian action.
  • State visits are an occasion for conferring the Legion of Honour upon official figures, pursuant to diplomatic reciprocity and thereby supporting the foreign policy of France.
  • The Legion of Honour has five degrees of increasing distinction:
    • Three ranks — Chevalier(Knight), Officier (Officer), and Commandeur (Commander) — and
    • Two titles—Grand Officer (Grand Office) and Grand-croix (Grand Cross).
    • The Prime Minister has been honoured with the highest French honour.




PM’s France Visit: 26 French Rafael M Fighters

Rafael Marine Version:

  • Defence acquisition council, headed by the defence minister approved 26 Rafael Marine fighter jets for the Indian Navy.
  • The Marine fighters are the naval variant of the rafale fighter jets manufactured by Dassault Aviation.
    • 36 of which are operated by the Indian Air force.
  • The advanced twin-engine multirole jets can carry exceptionally high payloads, and are equipped with the latest weapons systems, and modern sensors and radar to detect, track, and attack targets.
    • The jets are also equipped with India-specific enhancement.
    • The Marine version will operate at sea, and will have foldable wings, a longer air frame, and a tail hook for arrested landing on an aircraft carrier.
    • It will be able to carry a wider range of weapons, including antiship and air-to-surface missiles and radar meant formaritime operations.

Rafale M & MiG 29 K

  • The Navy currently operates Russian built MiG-29Ks, carrier based multirole fighter aircraft with a maximum speed twice that of sound (about 2,000km/hr) and which can climb to more than 65,000 feet — from its aircraft carrier
    • The aircrafts are equipped withsophisticated weapon systems, and are capable of engaging targets in the air, at sea, or on land.
    • Their latest avionics, range of armament, and air-to-air refuelling capability allow true power projection.
    • However, some of these aircraft are expected to retire in a decade, besides,with two operational carriers, the Navy now needs additional deck-based fighters to meet its operational requirements until it acquires the indigenous Twin Engine Deck Based Fighter (TEDBF), which is currently underdevelopment.
  • Only two aircraft met the Navy’s requirements criteria— the BoeingF/A-18E/F Super Hornet and the Rafale-M. The latter has common spares and support as the IAF’s Rafales, and thus had an edge.




  • Chandrayaan -III, the new Updates
    • CHANDRAYAAN-3, India’s third Moon mission,took off from the Sriharikota launching range on Friday.
      • The mission hopes to put behind the failure of Chandrayaan-2, which had crashed on the lunar surface in 2019.
      • Important improvements have been made in the design to ensure that another accident is avoided.

What happened in 2019

  • While attempting a soft-landing on September 7,2019, Chandrayaan-2 had failed to reduce its speed to the desired level in the final seconds of descent.
    • Scientists later detected problems in both the software and the hardware—in consequence, the software and hardware in Chandrayaan-3 have been equipped with several additional capabilities. Some of them are as follows.

The New Updates:

  • A Lander does not have wheels; it has stilts, or legs, which are supposed to touch down on the lunar surface, and then stabilise.
    • Chandrayaan-2 lost control over its descent around 7.2km from the surface of the Moon.
    • Its communications system relayed data of the loss of control up to around400m above the surface.
    • The Lander had slowed down to about 580km/hr when it crashed.
    • The legs of Chandrayaan-3 have been strengthened to ensure that it would be able to land, and stabilise, even at a speed of 3 m/sec,or10.8km/hour.
    • This would be of little use if Chandrayaan-3is struck by a problem similar to the one that crashed Chandrayaan-2, but this can certainly avert many other kinds of troubles in case of a rough landing.
  • The Chandrayaan-3Lander is carrying more fuel than Chandrayaan-2.
    • This has been done to ensure that the Lander is able to make a last-minute change in its landing site, if it needs to.
    • The Chandrayaan-2 Lander too had the ability to change its course if the onboard cameras detected a boulder, a crater, or any other lunar surface feature that would make the landing unstable.
    • The extra fuel is meant to enhance this capability.
  • The Chandrayaan-3 Lander has solar panels on four sides, instead of only two in Chandrayaan-2,
    • This is to ensure that the Lander continues to draw solar power, even if it lands in a wrong direction, or tumbles over.
    • At least one or two of its sides would always be facing the Sun, and remain active.
  • Additional navigational and guidance instrumentsareonboardChandrayaan-3tocontinuously monitor the Lander’s speed, and make the necessary corrections.
    • This includes an instrument called Laser Doppler Velocimeter, which will fire laser beams to the lunar surface to calculate the Lander’s speed.
  • New sensors and cameras have also been added.
    • The hazard detection and avoidance camera, and the processing algorithm have been upgraded.
  • Then aviation and guidance software has also been updated. Multiple layers of redundancies have been added to ensure that if one system does not work because of any reason, something else will.
  • The Lander has been subjected to multiple stress tests and experiments, including dropping it from helicopters.
    • ISRO created several kinds of test beds at one of its facilities to simulate lunar landing conditions.

                   ISRO has done whatever it could think of in terms of probabilities in the last two years and with this confidence it has launched Chandrayaan – 3. The success of Scientific advancement lies in its nations human resources with its problem solving capabilities and trail and error method of working for betterment at every single stage.

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